Last year I was asked by a neighbor if I could take a look at a beaded bag she owned. She was in hopes I could somehow do something to stop it from further deteriorating. Beads were falling off as I carefully took a look at it. Knowing that I was probably the only person around the area who knew anything about this kind of beading...well, I told her I would try. The biggest problem I could see was there were no replacement beads. (Notice from this photo that there are missing beads.)
This beautiful bag was owned by her aunt and she knew it was from 1924. She said there 'used to be a flapper dress' that matched the bag, but it has been lost in history. What a shame! So began a months long search for beads I could use to replace the missing ones. I needed white beads and also some clear ones. Well, I KNEW it wasn't going to be easy and eventually, I had to be creative and find beads that didn't match, but would look ok. Better that, than the bag falling completely apart.
In this photo, you can see the threads that have lost beads and what that looks like at the very bottom of the bag. I managed to tie these threads in square knots and then glue the ends in the seam right there where the front and back are put together. I used a toothpick and Fabri-Tac glue which dries clear. That in itself was a job.
You might see these just a little better here.
Near the top of the bag are stains and missing beads. There was no way to removed the stains, and really, no way (or beads) for me to 'fill in' the missing beads. Again, I used a toothpick and glue to hold what beads that were loose to the bag and also did a very thin coat of glue over the bare places. This clue dries in a mat finish. I had to go over the entire bag to fasten down loose beads. It seems to have done a pretty good job as they are no longer falling off.
This bag was made from a mesh canvas of a sort. Probably what has kept most of the beads attached.
Look closely to see the clear beads on the body of the bag.
Here you can see my source of replacement beads....I found an old necklace at the flea market and took it apart. Although these beads were a tad larger than the original beads, since I was going to have to remove all the fringe at the bottom of the bag, I figured I could mix the old with the new and maybe the newer beads would not be noticeable. I did the same with the clear beads, just mixed old with new. However, the clear beads are not alike in any way except for being clear. I think it's ok though. Much better than not being able to do repairs. (By the way, I have most of that white necklace left. No telling when or if I will ever need vintage white beads to actually match something again. I will save them...'just in case.')
These are the clear ones I used. I actually found them in a jar of beads from the flea market. Matching in no way, but usable.
This is the beaded bag on the inside. In almost perfect condition!
Here is where I began to do repairs. I used Silamide beading thread. Size A.
These are the beads as they came off the bag. I just mixed them up with the newer ones and began to replace the fringe.
You can see here the first two fringes....I think they look pretty good considering the clear ones don't match and the white ones are not all the same size.
Here is the bag finished. It's the best I could do....taking quite a while to finish. I always say I love to do tedious work and I suppose this project proves it.
The body of the bag...looking a bit better also.
It's really a pretty thing.
I did bead an extra row over the seam at the bottom...on both front and back. It seemed to need a bit more weight in my opinion and I thought it might also hold everything together just a tad better.
So, here is the bottom of the bag, repaired.
It looks really good on this dark background.
And, here it is shown on an embroidered scarf of mine, a light background. I just thought it would look really good in the photo along with some more 'fancy work.'
So glad to have this project completed. I will deliver it to its owner in the next few days. I've got fingers crossed she will be pleased.
It seems crazy to be in February already!
I'm wishing you all things great and good, with my whole heart. Take care.
Bird Nest Cottage
until next time